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Anne Cleary

Anne Cleary

I study human memory. Human memory is far from perfect. Very often, it seems to fail us. We attempt to retrieve something from memory and fail to do so. In short, retrieval from memory sometimes (maybe even often) fails. My primary research interest is in residual memory during retrieval failure. That is, in what ways can people still display evidence of having some memory despite exhibiting a retrieval failure? For example, coming across a street sign with the name "Marston" may give you a sense that it reminds you of something, even if you cannot retrieve what that something is. One branch of my research attempts to identify what features of an item or situation can lead to a sense of recognition during retrieval failure. For example, do geometric shapes contribute to the sense of recognition with pictures and objects? Do phonemes contribute to the sense of recognition with spoken words? Can rhythm contribute to the sense of recognition with songs? Another branch of my research focuses on subjective experiences that suggest or relate to residual memory during retrieval failure. Among the subjective experiences that I study are: tip-of-the-tongue experiences (when people feel that a word is in memory, but cannot access the word), déjà vu experiences (when people have a feeling of having been someplace or done something before, despite knowing that they have not), and the sense of familiarity.